Saturday, May 14, 2016

Firefly Crunch Salad

Today I am sharing a salad that was our assigned recipe to bring to a recent gourmet group gathering hosted by friends.  It's a unique and delicious salad which has a 'slaw' style base made with Napa Cabbage and Bok Choy.  

It is a featured salad at a local restaurant in the suburb where our host and hostess live. They had enjoyed it at the restaurant and were able to obtain the recipe. Instead of making it a salad course, they decided it would be a tasty side dish to the grilled fish they would be serving. It is a keeper!

There is so much going on in this salad with homemade buttermilk onion rings, wasabi peas, crumbled onion and poppy seed crackers, unsalted roasted soy nuts and sunflower seeds. Dressed with a luscious buttermilk ranch dressing and drizzled with a soy sauce reduction it has so much flavor in every bite. You can see why it is named 'Crunch' salad! 

As I mentioned, our hostess served it as a accompaniment to grilled fish but it could also be served as a main course topped with grilled shrimp, Ahi tuna or grilled chicken, for a delicious light meal on a spring evening.

Speaking of spring, even though there is a lot happening in the garden right now, we are under a frost advisory for early tomorrow morning! We've had more than our share of cool, windy and rainy days it seems. Is it unseasonably cool where you live? 

Firefly Crunch Salad

Printable Recipe

Makes 4 entree servings or 8-10 side servings

Notes:  The buttermilk ranch dressing and thickened soy sauce can be made a day ahead and the onion rings can be made in the morning, which is what I did. The cabbage, boy choy and carrot can also be prepared in the morning and kept in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Just before tossing the salad, the onion rings can be reheated in a hot oven for 5 minutes and tossed with the rest of the onion mix ingredients after reheating.  Warning - it is hard to resist eating these onion rings when you are making them - they are so good! If you're short on time, the canned onion rings can be substituted. 

Fried onion mix (see recipe below)
Soy reduction (see recipe below)
Chili Buttermilk Ranch Dressing (see recipe below)

1 large head Napa cabbage, cleaned and cut into fine shreds as for Cole slaw
2 heads bok choy, cleaned and cut into fine shreds as for Cole slaw (your may also use several heads of baby bok choy, instead)
2 carrots, peeled and shredded on a box grater

Fried onion mix:

1 large onion, sliced 1/8 inch thick
1 cup buttermilk
½ cup flour
Olive oil for frying

1/4 cup wasabi peas
1/4 cup onion and poppy seed crackers, crumbled (I used flatbread style crackers)
1/4 cup unsalted roasted soy nuts
1/8 cup unsalted roasted sunflower seeds

Soak onion in buttermilk for 2 hours. Remove from buttermilk and toss with flour in a large bowl.

Heat 1-2 inches of oil in a medium sauce pan. Add onions in small batches and fry until dark brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Using a large, slotted spoon, remove from oil and place on a paper-towel lined baking sheet. When finished frying, toss the onion rings with the wasabi peas, onion and poppy seed crackers, soy nuts and sunflower seeds in a very large bowl. When mixed together, transfer back to a paper towel-lined baking sheet until ready to use. May be reheated briefly in a hot oven before serving if made earlier in the day.  (Remove paper toweling before placing in oven.)

Thickened Soy Reduction

1 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon cornstarch

In heavy, medium-size saucepan bring soy sauce and sugar to a boil. In a small bowl combine water and cornstarch and whisk until smooth. Gradually add the cornstarch mixture to the boiling liquid. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook 5 minutes until thickened and soupy. Cool completely. Mixture will become slightly gelatinous as it cools. Whisk before using. Store unused soy reduction in refrigerator. Return to room temperature before serving.

Chili Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

1 cup sour cream
¼ cup buttermilk
¼ cup rice vinegar
1 tablespoon ranch dressing mix
1 tablespoon sugar
1 dash Sriracha or to taste (available at most grocery stores and Asian food stores)

Combine all ingredients and whisk until blended. Store in refrigerator.

When ready to serve salad, in a large bowl, combine sliced cabbage, bok choy and shredded carrot.  Toss with chili buttermilk ranch dressing.  Add onion mix to salad and toss. Arrange on serving plates and drizzle with the soy reduction and serve.

Adapted from Firefly Bar and Grill

Friday, April 29, 2016

Brioche Pastries

Do you remember the Bruffins I blogged about just before Easter?  Well, I couldn't get that delicious and easy to make brioche dough out of my head so decided I would make another batch and try a few sweet brioche pastry recipes.  Three, to be exact!  My adventures in brioche dough...:)

Cherry Brioche Snails, above, made with pastry cream and plumped dried cherries flamed with rum.

Danish-style pastries filled with Pastry Cream, Raspberry - Hibiscus Preserves and Almonds.

These were my favorite! Brioche dough patted into my small, removable bottom tart pans, and filled with pastry cream, raspberry and hibiscus preserves and topped with a sugary almond/egg white slurry.


Chocolate-Almond Cinnamon Swirl Muffins.  Bits of chopped chocolate, almonds and cinnamon sugar wrapped in brioche dough, and shaped into muffins.

I like mine topped with a pat of sweet butter. Great for breakfast or tea!

Speaking of tea, have your tried Yogi 'Joint Comfort' tea with Turmeric? I'm not fond of the taste of turmeric on its own but this decaf green tea also has lemongrass and peppermint leaf for a refreshing, bright taste. It's my new favorite tea!

Before I leave you with my three brioche pastry recipes, I'd like to thank Stephanie at The Glamorous Gourmet for the beautiful Williams Sonoma Market Herb Wreath!  I was the lucky winner of her giveaway this month and it is now hanging in the window above my kitchen sink.  If you enjoy wine, Stephanie is a certified sommelier who dishes up some great recipes and wine recommendations. Thank
you again, Stephanie!

Here are the links to each of the three recipes above.

Cherry Snails:

Danish- Style Pastries:

Chocolate-Almond Cinnamon Swirl Muffins:

Happy Baking!

Note:  I forgot to add the 3 egg yolks to the recipe for the Pastry Cream, which is now added to the recipe. I also fixed the link to the Danish Style Pastries! Sorry for the confusion!